Dearest One

by | Mar 31, 2023 | Book Review, Fiction, Picture Book

Dearest one (cover)

Book Details

Dearest One
Arielle Dance, illus. Jenny Duke. Newbury: Lantana Publishing, hb. 978 1 9137 4780 0, 2022, £11.99, 32pp.
Fiction, picture book, 4-7 years

Dearest One is a dream of a picture book, ideal for the growing child starting to think about her or his place in the world.

Imagined as a letter that a loving grandmother might write, starting with the words ‘Dearest One’, this book offers a bright but gentle exploration of how to be happy, content, strong and compassionate.

In today’s high-pressure world, where resilience and self-acceptance are important life skills even for young children, Dearest One offers delicately presented but powerful suggestions. Author Arielle Dance encourages readers to ‘Take up space. Remember to find your magic even when someone tries to dim your flame’ and ‘plant kindness wherever you go’. Dancing is highly recommended, too, as a way to ‘find music in the quiet’.

The illustrations are vibrant but tender, with a wonderful balance between playground scenes, home and family, and alone time. There’s joy on every page, with umbrellas, puddles, sunflowers and shadows all evoking different challenges, moods and needs. The pastel colour palette and soft, textured illustrational style are perfectly in balance with the book’s messages about individuality, understanding others and self-care.

This is a beautiful book in every way, filled with wisdom that will comfort adults reading aloud as well as children aged four and older. We all make mistakes – and we all need to hear the words ‘Remember, it will be okay’ from time to time.

A picture book for every shelf.


Review by Kate Lee